Sunday 31 July 2016

Sandhill Cranes

    I learned something yesterday.  When we were on a walk down Horseshoe Lake Road, I noticed some big birds sticking their heads up in the adjacent field.  It was a family of Sandhill Cranes.  I have seen Sandhills around the Robson Valley during the time of the spring migration and assumed that they were just traveling through as they headed toward breeding areas further north. 
    Seeing them this time of year made me think that some might nest here too.  This morning I called Elsie Stanley, our local bird expert to ask her about it and she told me there had been reports of Sandhills nesting here, so I guess some of the migrating Sandhills quit their journey and spend the summer here.

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Saturday 30 July 2016

I Let You Go & Friends in High Places

    Here are a couple more book reviews I did for the McBride Library Book Club.

"I Let You Go" by Clare Mackintosh 
      This novel is new to the library and I chose it because it was said to be similar to "Gone Girl", a book I really enjoyed reading.   Like Gone Girl, it did have some real unexpected twists in the plot and those are always fun.   The jaw dropping surprise in I Let You Go really caught me napping, and like Gone Girl, it makes it a difficult book to review, because although I would like to discuss the book more fully, I don't want to spoil the surprises for others who might want to read it. 
      The storyline begins with a jolt, as the touching scene of a single mom walking her young son home from school on a dark rainy afternoon, turns into a nightmare when the boy runs to cross over to their home on the quiet neighborhood street, and is killed by a car which comes screaming around the corner, then continues speeding away from the accident. 
     It is this hit and run that drives the plot, which includes the police, the mother, and the driver.  The book kept me curious, as the truth of what happened slowly unwinds. 

"Friends in High Places" by Donna Leon
      Joan really likes to read mysteries and the novels of Donna Leon are among her favorites. Since I have never read one, I thought this would be a good time to do it. Leon's novels take place in the corrupt and bureaucratic world of modern day Venice. Her main character is a high ranking police detective named Brunetti.  I read this novel as an ebook on my iPad after checking it out from the library's Overdrive site. 
     The plot begins as Brunetti is stretched out on the couch on a Saturday afternoon reading and he is disturbed by someone at the door. It is a nondescript young bureaucrat from the city who informs Brunetti that the top floor apartment he owns has no documentation and may have been illegally built. 
      After this encounter Brunetti hears no more about it and time passes until he receives a phone call at work  by that same young bureaucrat, calling to saay he has discovered something untoward going on in his office that urgently needs to be reported to the authorities.  When  Brunetti finds out that he is being called on a mobile phone, he tells the young bureaucrat that cell phones are not secure and that he should call back using a pay phone. The call is never returned. 
      The next day Brunetti reads in the paper that the young bureaucrat is in the hospital after a bad fall from scaffolding.  Brunetti goes to see him, but discovers he has died and the hospital staff begin giving him the run-around.  Brunetti soon realizes the young man's death was not an accident and starts to dig into the dark seamy culture of Venice to determine who was responsible for the death.     
     This murder, and other incidents he has to deal with in his job, give the reader a taste of the corrupt underbelly of the magnificent city of Venice.  The novel is easy  going, straight forward, and quite accessible.  I enjoyed reading it and felt like I learned a lot about life in Venice, beyond what is seen by tourists. 

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Friday 29 July 2016

Our Embarrassing Dog

    As a dog owner, we take my responsibilities seriously.  When our dog does her business in public places, we pick up her mess and put it in the trash, but I wish Skye was a bit more modest about where she takes her dumps.  
    Mac, our previous dog had great manners.  When he felt the need, he would wander off to some inconspicuous place on our property and do his business, Skye on the other hand, seems to love to do it with an audience around or in the most inappropriate place.
    We have 19 acres on which she could make her drops if she wanted to, but she seems to prefer to hold it until we go somewhere.  When we go to the park for a walk, she does her thing almost immediately after getting out of the car, usually at the entranceway or even on a sidewalk.  I have to make sure I always have a plastic bag with me to pick up after her.  If she would only wait until we get over on the edge of the bush, it would be a lot easier.
    It’s bad even at home.  If she does decide to take a dump, she doesn’t go out in the field or a less traveled area, instead she does it in the yard close to the sidewalk, or if we are walking around the pond, she makes her deposit right in the middle of the path.  
    Its a good thing we love her so much, because she sure can be an embarrassment.

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Thursday 28 July 2016

Common Mullein

    Mullein is a weed I have often seen growing along the edges of roads.  It came to North America from Europe and has spread across the continent.  It has fuzzy leaves grows for two years, first as a low ground hugging plant, then shooting up the second year with these yellow flowers.  I read that in ancient times it used to be dipped in tallow then used as a torch and was called “witch’s stick.”
    I usually don’t pay much attention to it, but the other day I saw this one being back lit by the morning sun so took a photo. 

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Wednesday 27 July 2016

Under Zucchini Leaves

    There’s a strange looking world of shapes and colors beneath the large zucchini leaves.  Here is a photo.

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Tuesday 26 July 2016

Water on Poppies--Close Up

    Whenever I am sitting on my little trolley, scooting along, weeding in the garden, as I look around I get views that I wouldn’t normally see.  Yesterday, I kept noticing drops of water that were caught in the foliage of the poppy plants that are scattered through the garden.  Here are a couple of shots I took.

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Monday 25 July 2016

Amber Waves of Grain

    Yet another shot I took while walking the dog out on Jeck Road east of McBride.  I really liked the solid bands of color that I saw looking toward the Cariboo Mountains.

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Sunday 24 July 2016

Look at that Sunset

    So much depends on being in the right place at the right time.   Last night just after 9:00, we were just coming home from our weekly visit with our friends Dave and Lyuba, and as we drove west on Hinkelman Road, I could see through the trees that the grey cloud covered sky was beginning to get a pinkish hue.
    A few minutes later the pink was becoming a more brilliant orange color, as the sun started highlighting the bottom side of the clouds.  Finally we broke out of the wooded area to find the sky a brilliant red orange and violet.  I stopped and started taking photos.
    I wasn’t the only one struck by the sunset, a local woman had noticed the sky and came cycling down the road to where we were stopped and joined us to watch it.  As the colors started to fade, we continued on our drive home on Highway 16.  Beside the highway we saw another person with a camera who had pulled off to take some photos.  
    Because of the way our house is located, tucked in at the base of the mountain we miss most of the summer sunsets, I was glad we were on the road when this one happened.

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Saturday 23 July 2016

No Internet--Cold Turkey

    First I would like to apologize to all those blog readers who came to the website and found no blog  for most of a week--our internet gave up the ghost.  That happened last Sunday.  I called our small independent internet provider in the next village on Monday and after they checked, confirmed that we didn’t have a signal.  They then told me that because of trying to fix some problem with the equipment in their office, they would not be able to get to our house until the end of the week.
    “The end of the week?  Yikes, that’s days away.”  The sweat started rolling down my brow at the thought of losing our connection with the world for so long.
    Living where we do in the middle of no where always creates problems.  Our internet comes from a repeater on a mountain across the valley.  To get it, we have an antenna about 40 feet (12 m) up in a tree, and it seemed that our problem was in that antenna.  I was then told by the provider that they, “No longer did trees, and did I know anyone that could climb the tree?’  I didn’t, but told them that I thought I could probably climb up there.
    I wondered how I was going to climb that spruce and be able to work on the small pizza box-like antenna and hang on for my life at the same time, but I had days to worry about that.  In the mean time I did my blog, but couldn’t send it.  I also did a cartoon for next week’s newspaper, but couldn’t send that in either.  
    The McBride Library has free wifi, but I could only use the program on my iMac to do my blog, so on Thursday, I just packed up my iMac, keyboard, and mouse and took the whole thing into the library.  It was not exactly a laptop, but since the CPU is in the iMac’s display, and the mouse and keyboard were wireless, it wasn’t that big of a deal, just bulky to carry.  The photo shows me and my computer, set up  at the library.
    When I got it all out of the box at the library, and plugged it in, it worked like a charm.  I noticed right away how much faster the library’s internet was than ours.  I uploaded the blogs I had done for the four missing days, sent off my cartoon, sent some emails, and then re-packed my computer and came home.
    Yesterday, Dan, the internet company’s tech guy came over.  I had borrowed the neighbor’s climbing harness, but couldn’t even figure out how to put it on.  Luckily Dan, after seeing the antenna on the tree told me, that even though he wasn’t supposed to be climbing trees, he would do it.  
    He replaced the broken part in the old antenna, but we were still getting a very weak signal.  It seems that over the years since it had been installed, all the trees in my neighbor’s yard grew taller and were now blocking much of the signal from the mountain.  Luckily, he had a bigger and more powerful antenna in the truck and was able to install it on the side of our roof and it could still pick up the signal despite all of the trees, so

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Friday 22 July 2016

Hiking With Sandals

    Sandals are not recommended hiking gear, but I have a problem.   I always wear hiking boots while hiking, but whenever I start hiking downslope, the ends of my toes slam against the front of the boot.  This can lead to each step being very painful and later I have found some of my toenails have turned black from the hammering they got.  
    Before the hike up Eagle Valley, I tried to figure out what I could do to show some compassion toward my toes.  I knew that the hike would end with a long downward slope that used to be a logging road.  Since it was formally a road, I figured that the terrain would not be rugged, and I came upon the idea of taking sandals along on the hike and putting them on for that long downhill section.  Sandals have nothing in front of my toes that they would slam into.
    It all worked out really well.  By the time I got to the start of the downhill, my toes were already beginning to be painful.  I sat down on a boulder and took my hikers off and put on my sandals and started down.  
    My feet got wet and muddy as I walked through the many small puddles and rivulets that crisscrossed the old road, but my toes didn’t hurt any more.
    I don’t know how well or safe sandals would be on rough terrain, but I will probably take them along again on our next hike.

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Thursday 21 July 2016

The Eagle Valley Cabin

    In 1991 the Ozalenka Alpine Club decided to build a cabin for hikers up in the Eagle Valley.  A couple of years earlier they had built one up in the Ozalenka awhich was a big success, used to overnight by people who had trekked up to that alpine area.  The cabins provide shelter, beds, propane cooking stove and a wood stove for heating in winter and on chilly nights.  Having such a cabin allows adventurers to spend time up the the isolated wilderness area without having to pack everything in on their backs.
    You might notice that this cabin is covered with metal roofing.  It seems that porcupines love chewing on plywood and the metal is one way to prevent them eating holes in the walls.   The cabin is insulated and can be used after making a reservation with the Stanleys.  It and the Ozalenka cabin are popular and bookings are steady.
    Like I said, it was constructed in 1991 using volunteer labor (I was one), donations from local businesses, and some grants and helicopter time from the Ministry of Forests’ Recreation Program.  Below is a photo taken during its construction.
    We were pretty thankful to have the cabin on Sunday after hiking up and being bombarded by mosquitoes and pounded by a rainstorm.

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Wednesday 20 July 2016

Eagle Valley: A Disappointing Visit

    After the grueling hike up the Eagle Valley Trail,  I anxiously awaited finally arriving at the plateau of Eagle Valley.  When I finally got there I was confronted with clouds of mosquitoes.  This is the first time this has happened on a Ozalenka Alpine Club hike.  The other times I was up at Eagle Valley there were no mosquitoes. 
    I spent some time scanning at the panorama of mountains and glaciers, and sat down on a boulder to eat the sandwich that I had been carrying in my daypack.  I was hungry and I eagerly awaiting biting into my lunch.  The pleasure of eating was greatly diminished by all of the mosquitoes that gave me no peace.  I gulped ate my sandwich as I swatted mosquitoes.  The photo below shows 24 of the beasties sitting on my pant legs as I ate.
    Once I had finished the sandwich, I had had enough of the mosquitoes, and I decided to head for the cabin, so I could finish the rest of my lunch and rest with out the torment.  The bugs and my weariness from the hike, had stifled any desire to explore Eagle Valley.  I had seen it before.  It was largely gravel and boulders from the outwash plain of the glaciers.  There were a few scattered alpine flowers, but not many.  
    It was a good move to head to the cabin when I did, because on the way it began to sprinkle and then rain.  The cabin was full of the other hikers, and we sat around talking about the hike, the dog with the porcupine quills, and all of the mosquitoes.  I finished eating the other bits of food that I had brought along, and rested my brutalized legs.
    After an hour, it was raining harder than ever, but I thought I had better head back down the trail so I could take it at my own pace and not be pressured by other hikers.  I was happy that I had brought my raincoat along in my pack because it was raining heavily.  
    The rain had made the trail more dangerous, as many of the rocks and dirt were now wet and slippery.  As I slowly and carefully picked my way down the trail, I couldn’t help but be a bit bummed out by the mosquitoes that had really ruined the visit to Eagle Valley.  I was happy that my old legs were still able to make it to the destination, and I knew they would be letting me know how they felt about all that exertion by the time I made it home. 

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Tuesday 19 July 2016

Eagle Valley Trail--Be Really Careful

    I found hiking the 10 km (6 mile) Eagle Valley Trail a real ordeal.  It was grueling and dangerous.  The most hazardous section is shown in the photo above, but unfortunately the picture does not accurately portray either the danger or the scale.  You can see the very narrow trail on the left.   It is not much more than a foot (30cm) wide and has a loose, light-graveled base.  
    Below it is very steeply angled slope, which offers no barriers to the roaring and rushing white water, 15-20 feet (4-6 meters) below.  If one were to slip or trip, there is nothing that would keep you from plunging into the turbulent water, where you would quickly be swept downstream, battered by boulders in the river.  After I passed this section I kept my fingers crossed that the others in our party would get through it safely too.
    The other dicy bit of the trail were the sections that traverse across the several avalanche chutes.  There is no danger of snow avalanches this time of year, but the slide areas are heavily vegetated with tall brush and plants, often taller than the hiker.  The hazard comes from not being able to see where you are stepping, and the base of the trail is an inconsistent conglomeration of angled small boulders  and cobble of different sizes.  I also wondered about the chances of unexpectedly coming upon a grizzly bear because of the lack of visibility and the roar of the river.
    The vegetation was so thick, that in places it was often difficult to discern exactly where the trail went until you were immediately on top of it.  To give you an example, below is a photo looking directly at the trail.

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Monday 18 July 2016

Eagle Valley Hike

    Eagle Valley is at the far end of one of the Dore River drainages, just west of McBride, BC.  Back in the early 1991, I helped build a cabin for hikers up in the newly named Eagle Valley.  I have hiked up there a couple of times after the cabin was built, but it was probably been about 20 years since I was last saw it.  On Sunday the Ozalenka Alpine Club organized a hike up to Eagle Valley, and I thought it would be interesting to do the hike again.
    On those early hikes, you could drive up a logging road which climbed a slope on the side of a mountain then start the 6 km (3.7) hike to the cabin, however that road is now de-commissioned and blocked because of rock slides, so now you have to hike up the grown-in old road, before you even get to where the trail head is.  Having this extra climb added to the hike made me wonder if my old legs could handle it.
    There were about 17 people and 2 dogs that gathered to begin climbing the slope.  The group soon began to spread out as hikers chose their own speed.  Only 11 made it to the cabin.
    It was an eventful hike.  In a wooded section along the trail, there was a wasp nest on the ground.  Several people got stung as they walked past it.  (I found it interesting that it seemed the very same people got stung again on the way out, while the ones that escaped the stings while hiking in, also escaped them going out)  Luckily I was one that escaped the stings.
    One of the dogs had a run-in with a porcupine and ended up with a muzzle that looked like a pin cushion.  Fortunately for the dog, there was a doctor among the hikers who removed the quills from the dog.
    The trail was nothing like I remembered it.  I thought once we gained all the elevation on the logging road, we gently climbed to Eagle Valley, but discovered that once we got to the trail head we had to hike all the way down to the rushing river, losing a lot of elevation, then had to slowly regain it all and more to get to Eagle Valley. 
    I also thought that most of the trail was through wooded areas, but discovered that it followed the river, though some treed areas, but we also had to traverse a boulder field, and very thickly grown up avalanche chutes.
    I found the hike fairly treacherous, but I will speak to that on another blog.  
    The photo above is not the Eagle Valley, but is a side valley that could be seen on our hike up the old logging road.  There were a lot of waterfalls and white water to be seen along the trail, here are some photos.

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Saturday 16 July 2016

Joan With Potatoes

    The other day I was going through a box of old slides from the 1980’s that I discovered hidden away on a shelf in my office.   Among those old slides was this image of Joan showing off some of the big potatoes we had grown in our garden.  It’s a photo worth sharing.

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Friday 15 July 2016

East of Eden and David Copperfield

In June I read two classics, one American and one English for our local book club.  The theme was “Fathers and Sons” and the two books gave some pretty distinct examples.  Here is my look at them in  East of Eden and David Copperfield.  I got East of Eden at the library and David Copperfield as a free download and read it on my iPad.
        East of Eden by John Steinbeck
                  In Steinbeck's classic novel East of Eden, he gives the reader several portraits of fathers and sons.  First is Cyrus Trask, who came home to his young infant son and unhappy wife with a missing leg, after his first and only encounter with the enemy in the American Civil War .  She had assumed he would be killed, but he wasn't and he brings home gonorrhea to her as a souvenir of his war experience. She soon commits suicide by drowning herself in the shallow farm pond.
     Cyrus went on a drunk and didn't feed his son Adam for four days, and when he could no longer stand his child's crying, he discovered that giving his infant son whiskey, made him go to sleep.  Realizing someone had to take care of Adam, he quickly married a young neighbor girl and soon made her pregnant, providing him with a second son, Charles. 
      As these two boys grew older, Charles who was stronger and more coordinated, began to dominate his older brother. Cyrus, the father used his missing leg to his advantage, making up stories about his prowess in famous battles, reading accounts of military conflicts and affairs, and bragging to such an extent that even politicians soon began to considered him a military expert and as a result, he was given a high ranking job in Washington.  
     He was a hardcore disciplinarian to the boys, forcing them to do military drills and exercises.  Adam came to hate his father and also feared and hated his brother Charles, who felt deprived of his father's love and jealous of Adam.  Charles felt his uncaring father loved Adam more.  His jealous rage at one point almost led to him murdering Adam. It was not a very warm father/son or brother/brother relationship.
      A more positive example of fatherhood from the book was that of Samuel Hamilton. He established his family on water-poor property in the Salinas Valley in Northern California, and as a result, the family struggled.  Samuel had a gregarious nature, full of jokes, but also a caring personality toward his family and his neighbors.  He was intellectually curious and was very inventive, but his invention ideas were stolen by others and he remained poor but in good spirits.  His nine or more children and wife loved him. 
        The last half of the novel again follows Adam Trask, who was one of the boys in the first part of story.  As an adult, Adam falls in love and marries a truly evil woman, but he is blinded by his infatuation with her. Rich from the ill gotten wealth of his late father, he buys a prosperous ranch in the Salinus Valley.  Cathy, his evil wife is pregnant and gives birth to fraternal twin boys, who may be Adam's, or may have been fathered by his cruel brother, Charles. 
       After his wife recovers from the birthing, she shoots Adam, wounding him and abandons him and her newborn boys, running off to open a whore house in Salinas.  Adam is so distraught at losing her, he gives up on his life, ignoring his baby boys. It is Lee, the Chinese servant who raises the infants.  A year after their birth, uninterested Adam still hasn't bothered to give names to his sons. Samuel Hamilton the good neighbor, knocks some sense into Adam, who finally begins to take some responsibility and names his sons Cal and Aron. 
      Cal has dark hair, intelligence, and has an evil streak, while Aron is a friendly, na├»ve 'Golden Boy', beloved by all.  Cal can't help but be jealous of his twin.  Adam tries to become a good father and somewhat succeeds, but it is really Lee, the servant, who nurtures and guides the boys.  Adam tries, but it is Lee who should win the "Best Father" award. 
     I had read this book before, but fortunately, my bad memory enabled me to enjoy it all over again. This book was not explicitly written about fatherhood, but it does give several varied examples of fathers in its plot. The main themes in this Steinbeck classic are good and evil, flawed personality traits, and making a conscious choice to overcome bad personal traits. 

David Copperfield  by Charles Dickens
      This very engaging novel is written in the style of an autobiography of one David Copperfield, following his life from childhood to maturity.
      David Copperfield never met his real father, who died before David was born. He and his mother lived a happy life until she was courted by Mr. Murdstone , who seemed benign, although unloveable, until David was sent away for a time to visit with their servant's family of fishermen.
      Upon returning home, David discovers that his life is forever changed, and not to the good. In his absence, his mother has married Mr Murdstone, who has taken over the house along with his stern and cruel lackey of a sister. Murdstone believes in strick obedience and discipline not only from David, but also David's mother, who is no longer allowed to show her love to David, because Murdstone sees affection as a weakness.
      As David and his mother's life deteriorate under the religious sternness and cruelty of Mr. Murdstone, David's education, which had earlier thrived under his mother's tutelage, becomes a fearful ordeal as he is pushed and punished at each mistake under Murdstone's unyielding eye.  At one point, in a headlock and about to be beaten, David in desperation, bites his stepfather's hand, and is then brutally beaten, and imprisoned in his room for five days.
        When he is finally freed, he is whisked off to a boarding school, where he remains until finally being allowed to return home for the holidays.  Back home, he finds his mother deteriorating and totally subdued by Murdstone. 
      A few months after returning to the boarding school, Copperfield receives news that his mother has died. Murdstone, who now owns all of the Copperfield property, feels he is no longer bound to David's education and ends it, bringing him home, where David grieves for his mother.   Murdstone soon makes a deal with a friend to put David to work, washing bottles in a warehouse. 
       This pretty much ends David Copperfield's experience with fathers. It certainly was not a positive one, but it did not warp or ruin his life.  The novel continues with David encountering a colorful range of quirky Dicken's characters and situations as he grows into adulthood.  Although I knew a lot of the storyline from films, I thoroughly enjoyed reading David Copperfield. 

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Thursday 14 July 2016

Looks Good Enough to Eat

    What you are looking at are cleaning products.  The orange and blue ones are for laundry and the light blue one with the red dot is for the dishwasher.  When I first saw these things my first thought was how tempting it must be for some little kid to eat them.  I find it quite amazing that big corporations go to such trouble to make their detergents so attractive that a small child would probably want to eat them.
    Every 13 seconds the US Poison Control Center gets a call about a possible poisoning.  Among the most common causes of poisoning in young children are cleaning products.  Is there really a need to create such attractive cleaning products that would be so tempting to a child?
    All this reminds me of a family story in which I was the main character.  When I was a young kid, we used to live next door to my aunt, uncle, and cousins.  I would toddle back and forth between the two houses constantly.  In those days, no one locked their houses, and one day my aunt and uncle came home and discovered that the door to their refrigerator was open and on the floor was a square of yeast with a big bite taken out of it.
    It seems that in their absence, I went over to their house, walked in, and finding no one home, went exploring.  I guess I was hungry so I opened  the fridge to see what I could find to eat.  I saw the small square of shiny foil-wrapped yeast and, thinking it was candy, took a bite.  Upon discovering that the taste was not what I had expected, I dropped it and made a quick retreat.
    I guess the moral here is that children are attracted to colorful things and that corporations should be conscientious enough to make their products less attractive to children.

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Wednesday 13 July 2016

Rain on the Mountains

    A lot of storms and showers have been moving through the Robson Valley over the past few weeks.  Last night as I was heading in to our jam session, approaching the Fraser River Bridge I noticed these gathering dark clouds and falling rain up on the horizon toward Bell Mountain.

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Tuesday 12 July 2016

God Speaketh

    I guess I saw too many religious paintings and movies in my youth, now every time I see this phenomenon in the sky where light is streaming down in rays, my first thought is, “God must be  speaking to someone.”  This “decree” happened yesterday as we were walking around the pond.

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Monday 11 July 2016

Zucchini Flower

    The other day as I was weeding the garden, I happened to glance through the massive leaves of a zucchini plant and spotted this exuberant, big, yellow bloom.  I couldn’t help but get up from the garden trolley I was sitting on, and walk into the house to get my camera so I could capture the image.  I really like the contrast in colors between the bright yellow flower and the dark green foliage and unopened blooms that make up the background.

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Sunday 10 July 2016

How I Made It Rain

    Out weeding in the garden over the last week, made me realize how dry it was getting and so I began hoping for a little rain.  I was tempted to turn the sprayer on the garden, but since the forecast kept calling for showers and rain the following day, I didn’t see the need. 
    Day after day, the promised precipitation failed to materialize.  We got dark threatening clouds, we got lots of wind, but we didn’t get any rain.  Finally in frustration, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
    The first thing I did was cut some hay a couple of days ago.  It was down and drying in the sun.  That will usually brings on the rain, but after a couple of days, still no rain, so I tried something else.
    I couldn’t use the hose on the reel because the plastic nozzle that attached to the tap on the house had cracked.  I had planned to buy a new nozzle at the hardware store for some time, but kept putting it off, but my new determination to force the rain, gave me motivation, so yesterday when we were in town, I made my way to the hardware store and bought the part to fix the hose.
    When I got back home I put it on, and watered the thirsty cabbages and broccoli in the garden.  They really needed it, but the rain still didn’t come.  
    Then I intensified my efforts by turning on the water sprinkler water the rest of the garden.  After a few adjustments I had the water spraying back and forth over the vegetables and flowers in the garden--no rain yet.
    It was still sunny, something more had to be done.  I backed the car out of the carport and parked it in the grass then got out all of my car washing equipment.  I hooked up the hose, filled the bucket with soap, screwed the car washing brush onto the hose, and got to work scrubbing the car.
    I was only half done when I heard the first crash of thunder in the distance and saw the heavy dark clouds peaking over the trees.  By the time I was finishing up on the car, the odd drops of precipitation were beginning to fall from the sky.  I hurried to finish the car and just got it back into the carport when the rain began.
    While it might seem a bit of an ordeal doing all these things, by taking matters into your own hands, you too can make it rain.  In case you are tired of rain and want the hot sun back, I build a fire in the wood stove in the house to warm things up, then the sun usually breaks through the clouds and heats up the day.

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Saturday 9 July 2016

A Grave Robbery

    As a youngster, I developed a deep fascination and interest in American Indian culture.  I dreamed of being an archeologist discovering and digging up artifacts of ancient civilizations.  Of course, none of that ever happened, but even today that interest remains. 
    In 1982, I was told that my brother-in-law at the time, knew of a Native American gravesite.  If I remember correctly, some relative and his friends were over in Kentucky fishing in a river and a bone came sliding down the slope beside the river.  They investigated and found a hole dug in the hillside and more bones.  James had later gone out there with his relative and saw the site.
    My imagination was fired upon hearing the story, so the next time I went down to Indiana for a visit I asked if a trip out to the burial site could be arranged, and Jim took my mother and I over to see it.  We drove across the bridge to Kentucky, then down some country roads, walked through some old fields and woodlands, and got to the grave site.
    It seemed like a wonderful site to bury a loved one.  The slope of the hill overlooked a river below and in the distance, through the trees, you could see the Ohio River sprawling out in the west.
    But I was appalled at what I saw in the present day.   A small chunk of the slope had been carved away, and strewn around the area were human bones.  The grave robbers were only interested in the Indian artifacts which they could sell on the black market, and cared not at all for the human remains.
    My reaction to the Indian burial site was not at all what I had expected.  I thought it would be so interesting, but instead I found it depressing and disgusting, thanks to the tomb robbers, who cared nothing about the history or culture, only of money.
    I urged my brother-in-law to contact someone involved with Native American history to make them aware of the location of the grave, but I don’t know if he did or not.  Certainly, there wasn’t anything left of cultural or historical value on the hillside.
    I recently discovered some of my lost slides and these were among them.  They still generate a feeling of disgust after all these years.

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Friday 8 July 2016

Using My Wheelbarrow

    Here is a photo of me taken in the early spring of 1978, after spending the first winter in our house and hobby farm in the Robson Valley.  We had never owned a house before and one of the first things I  bought was a wheelbarrow.  There were so many things we wanted to change on our property and most of those jobs required some means of carting items away.  From the photo, you can see that work was not the only thing I used the wheelbarrow for.

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